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WisdomArk to provide you insights on your life


WisdomArk, a new start-up in Los Altos, has raised $6.3 million in a first round of funding for yet another social networking site. We mention this mainly because of the funding, and because it's good to know when two known Silicon Valley venture firms like El Dorado Ventures and Venrock make such a large investment. They made it along with existing investor Eric Benhamou

Still, we can't help scratching our heads on this. This is a major funding, which is a good time to drive publicity, especially when you've got a hundred other competitors out there. And yet the site is still closed to users (it is taking requests for a "beta" testing version which will be available later this year).

Erick Benhamou, chairman and CEO of Benhamou Global Ventures, told VentureWire (sub required) that other social networking sites with image uploading capabilities like Friendster are potential competitors. But, he said, "WisdomArk is much more than image storage ... it is a 'proxy biographer.' It extracts insights from the user about their life and allows them to make connections based on those insights."

Update: Good comments below, one of them expressing a serious concern:

The majority of users of these social networks are teens....it's the biographical details supplied by youth that make it a "predator treasure trove", where information that would be very difficult to obtain without personal contact is "skillfully used to win a child's confidence."

What are sites going to do about this?

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From: Magid
Excerpt: Pasadena, CA Lawrence Magids syndicated September 9 "PC Focus" newspaper column proved once again the famous computer September ...
Tracked: August 9, 2006 10:15 AM


I won't speak for Andy Halliday, their CEO -- but as someone who has seen some of the prototypes, they are hitting a part of the market that few others have approached.

My guess is that aren't many people after their space who are launched at the moment..so some stealth time is not unreasonable here.

Chris Tolles on January 25, 2006 10:10 PM
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Proxy Biographer? Where do they get this stuff? I'll be interested to see how their marketing communications writers deal with that winning phrase.
They may be in a new space but they'll still be dealing with the 'how do we monetize this?' issue.

Martin on January 26, 2006 7:05 AM
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Larry Magid's fitness column today ("MySpace Web site leaves teens' lives exposed") talks about the risk of young people putting their biographical information online in myspace. "In the wrong hands, this information could easily put these young people in harm's way."

Mr. Magid also writes of the possible link between the horrible murder of Kayla Reed, the 15 year old Livermore girl who disappeared recently, and her use of MySpace.

The majority of users of these social networks are teens. Mr. Magid says it's the biographical details supplied by youth that make it a "predator treasure trove", where information that would be very difficult to obtain without personal contact is "skillfully used to win a child's confidence."

So, do we need deeper biographical knowledge of teens to enrich an already wealthy set of cynical investors? Are they willing to cap their market by limiting informationa collected, monitoring use, and working with authorities to prevent the Kayla's of the world from being exploited? Are they serious about providing a great experience with the built-in overhead costs of protecting the innocent?

Or are they just trying to offer the Internet equivalent of kiddie cigarettes to get these kids to use the site and spill their guts, and damn the consequences?

It's up to good reporters like you Matt, to keep on the whole story, and not just the spin. Keep up the good work.

SV Beat Fan on January 26, 2006 9:16 AM
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With a name like "WisdomArk," could they be a Christian social networking site? Such a site would certainly be "hitting a part of the market that few others have approached."

Alison Chaiken on January 26, 2006 9:17 PM
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WisdomArk is the company name, not the product/service mark, and was meant (when I coined it many years ago) to imply a vessel that would protect and carry precious information content through the ravaging floods of time...too cute by half I am now sure, and unfortunately too Judaeo-Christian for a popular, non-denominational product. At the company, we believe that all people have a contribution to collective human experience that is of great interest to those who traveled with them on their journey in life, and selections of that collected life-experience will be very interesting to those who survive users or derive from them on the planet.

I am personally very clear that privacy, user control, and information security are essential whenever personal information is collected, especially so when there are predators who might exploit that information, and so our service is being designed to allow private sharing among family and friends, as well as public presentation of life-experiences.

The site isn't open to the public yet, but is available to friends of our company. Let me know if you are too curious to wait...

best always,

Andy Halliday on February 6, 2006 5:32 PM
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interesting that wisdomark is in beta when wisdomlegacy is up and running - would have loved to compare the two before signing up...

shivaswami on July 1, 2006 12:03 AM
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